Friday, April 30, 2010

David Letterman starts record label

News yesterday that the King Of Late Night, David Letterman, is launching his own record label.

Clear Entertainment/C.E. Music will operate under Dave’s parent production company, Worldwide Pants.

The label’s first signing is Huntington Beach, California pop-punk band, Runner Runner; their self-titled debut will be released by EMI Music late this summer. (Think: “Runner Runner, late this summer.”) Runner Runner are reportedly in the studio working on the album with producer Dave Darling (Stray Cats, Brian Setzer, Soulive); the first single, “So Obvious,” hits radio on June 15.

Formed in 2008 from a variety of pop-punk and skate-punk bands, Runner Runner have already played almost 200 shows in their short time together, including last year’s Vans Warped Tour. The group released two EP's in ’08; with more than 8 million total plays on their myspace page, Runner Runner were named a ‘2009 Band to Watch’ by Alternative Press.

Runner Runner – So Obvious (2008)

Runner Runner - Stripped - EP - So Obvious Acoustic Runner Runner - Stripped - EP - So Obvious Acoustic

Runner Runner – So Obvious (acoustic) (2008)

Considering his obvious love of music, maybe the label thing isn’t such a big surprise: Dave has always enjoyed the music guests on his show and has been even more vocal about his support of them in recent months, especially new bands. Letterman has said that his favourite band is Foo Fighters; he personally invited them to play on his ‘comeback’ show following his quintuple bypass in 2000, and the feeling was mutual – the group were on a South American tour at the time and canceled it to be there for Dave.

Foo Fighters - The Colour And The Shape - Everlong Foo Fighters - The Colour And The Shape - Everlong

Foo Fighters – Everlong
The Late Show With David Letterman – February 21, 2000

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jimmy Fallon “Stones Week” lineup confirmed

As I originally reported last month, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”
will be saluting the upcoming reissue of The Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main Street,” with a week of special shows.

With this week’s news that Green Day have been added to the list, the roster is now complete:
MON MAY 10 – Green Day
TUE MAY 11 - Keith Urban
WED MAY 12 - Sheryl Crow
THU MAY 13 – Phish
FRI MAY 14 – “Stones In Exile” world premiere

"Stones Week" announcement – Green Day
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – April 27, 2010

“Stones In Exile” is a new documentary about the making of the album, including footage from “Ladies And Gentlemen…the Rolling Stones” and “Cocksucker Blues.”

The reissue of “Exile,” featuring 10 unreleased tracks from the original sessions, hits stores May 18.

I thought it would be fun to pull together some clips of the Fallon lineup doing Stones songs, so here we go…

The Rolling Stones - Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) [Remastered] - Jumpin' Jack Flash The Rolling Stones - Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) [Remastered] - Jumpin' Jack Flash

Foxboro Hot Tubs (Green Day) – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Don Hills, NYC - April 23, 2010

The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - Gimme Shelter

Keith Urban and Alicia Keys – Gimme Shelter
Live Earth 2007 - Giants Stadium , New Jersey – July 7, 2007

The Rolling Stones & Sheryl Crow - Live Licks (Remastered) - Honky Tonk Women The Rolling Stones & Sheryl Crow - Live Licks (Remastered) - Honky Tonk Women

The Rolling Stones with Sheryl Crow – Honky Tonk Women
Licks Tour - Madison Square Garden, NYC – January 18, 2003

The Rolling Stones - Made In the Shade (Remastered) - Tumbling Dice The Rolling Stones - Made In the Shade (Remastered) - Tumbling Dice

Phish – Tumbling Dice
Festival 8 – Indio, California - October 31, 2009

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Return Of Devo

Devo return this June with their first new studio album in 20 years…how cool and crazy is that?

Always a fun band back in their prime, Devo seemed really intent on shaking things up in mainstream music – mentally, sonically and visually. The group’s thematic concept was based on “de-evolution” – that society was actually regressing instead of progressing, and Devo created mechanical-sounding music with accompanying visuals that were at the cutting edge and early days of the 70s New Wave movement.

A lot of what Devo did was just too far from the average person’s experience of what music was supposed to be, represent and sound like, and many people missed the boat. Some did get it big time: after Devo did the soundtrack for a short film in 1976 called “The Truth About De-Evolution,” David Bowie and Iggy Pop helped get the band signed to Warner Brothers records.

The first track many people heard from Devo was their version of The Rolling Stones classic, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which was so ‘out there’ it was virtually unrecognizable from its original…

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Devo – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1978)

The closest Devo got to crossing paths with the mainstream was with their 1980 Top 20 U.S. hit, “Whip It” – the band played it on Jimmy Kimmel last week…

Devo - Freedom of Choice (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - Whip It Devo - Freedom of Choice (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - Whip It

Devo – Whip It
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 20, 2010

The band has an interesting promo going on right now: “Devo Song Study” gives fans the chance to pick the songs that will make up the new disc. Devo have posted 16 tracks for fan review in the study, and needs help cutting the list down to the final 12; band spokesperson Jakob walks you through the process…

Devo – Devo Song Study (2010)

Here’s two of the songs in the study for your consideration…both from last week’s Kimmel appearance…

Devo - Song Study - EP - Fresh Devo - Song Study - EP - Fresh

Devo – Fresh
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 20, 2010

Devo - Song Study - EP - What We Do Devo - Song Study - EP - What We Do

Devo – What We Do
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 20, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Springsteen live DVD preview (incl. non-DVD tracks!)

One of music’s great live acts, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, will be releasing a live DVD on June 22.

“London Calling: Live In Hyde Park” features Bruce and the gang in concert before 50,000 fans at London’s Hard Rock Calling Festival on June 28, 2009.

The two-disc DVD will contain more than 2.5 hours of live stuff from the show, part of Bruce’s tour in support of “Working On A Dream.” The set opens with a rare Bruce cover of The Clash’s “London Calling,” and winds through more than a quarter-century of tracks from his career; special guest Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem joins the band on “No Surrender.”

The Clash - London Calling - London Calling The Clash - London Calling - London Calling

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – London Calling
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

After the set list, watch MORE live performances from the Hyde Park concert below!
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
“London Calling: Live In Hyde Park” DVD

Set List:

1. London Calling
2. Badlands
3. Night
4. She's the One
5. Outlaw Pete
6. Out in the Street
7. Working on a Dream
8. Seeds
9. Johnny 99
10. Youngstown
11. Good Lovin'
12. Bobby Jean
13. Trapped
14. No Surrender
15. Waiting on a Sunny Day
16. Promised Land
17. Racing in the Street
18. Radio Nowhere
19. Lonesome Day
20. The Rising
21. Born to Run
22. Hard Times (Come Again No More)
23. Jungleland
24. American Land
25. Glory Days
26. Dancing in the Dark
27. Music under end credit sequence: Raise Your Hand

The River: Glastonbury Festival, 2009
Wrecking Ball: Giants Stadium, 2009

For those who can’t wait for the DVD, here’s some of the material, as featured in the TV broadcast special of the concert from last summer…INCLUDING TWO TRACKS YOU WON'T BE SEEING ON THE NEW RELEASE!

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition) [Remastered] - Born to Run Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition) [Remastered] - Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Born To Run
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition) [Remastered] - Jungleland Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition) [Remastered] - Jungleland

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Jungeland
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - Magic - Radio Nowhere Bruce Springsteen - Magic - Radio Nowhere

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Radio Nowhere
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising - Lonesome Day Bruce Springsteen - The Rising - Lonesome Day

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Lonesome Day
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

RARE GOODIES: A couple of tracks from the tv broadcast that aren’t included on the upcoming DVD…

Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle - Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle - Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound - The '59 Sound The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound - The '59 Sound

The Gaslight Anthem with Bruce Springsteen – The ’59 Sound
Hard Rock Calling Festival, Hyde Park, London – June 28, 2009

Monday, April 26, 2010

Celebrity Apprentice Week 7

Finally, F-U-N arrived on week 7 of The Celebrity Apprentice, and it’s about time.

There’s been very few moments this season where anyone was having much fun, as ‘stiff’ contestants couldn’t bring themselves to lighten up, not to mention cutting down on the damn backstabbing of their teammates.

How did fun manage to get involved? With the teams originally lined up as men vs. women heading into last night’s show, it was a 5-2 player advantage for the women’s side. While I predicted that there would be a shakeup of the rosters, I didn’t expect the extent of the changes Donald Trump made this week: he realigned the teams by moving chef Curtis Stone over to the women’s side (“Tenacity”) while Sharon Osborne and Maria Kanellis joined Bret Michaels on the men’s side (“Rock Solid”).

Wow, what a world of difference – for the players and the viewing audience.

Considering Osborne’s comments in the opening moments that last week’s victory wasn’t fun because of the in-fighting and bad vibes on her team and that she didn’t want to play anymore, she pulled a major 180 when the deck was reshuffled – Sharon was beyond thrilled to be working with Bret and Maria, which was such a huge change in atmosphere for all of them.

Team Tenacity seemed to be in a better place, too, as Stone brought some fresh energy to their group. However, this week’s Project Manager, Holly Robinson Peete, was up to her usual tricks: Cyndi Lauper had to miss day one of the task to do something with Lady Gaga, and Peete wouldn’t shut up about it, whining three times in the first half hour alone about Lauper getting a ‘free pass again’ (last time this happened, Cyndi was at The White House to mark President Obama’s announcement about some hate crime legislation, something she’d been working on for many years). Considering her place in life, it’s hard to watch Peete’s ego and almost constant negativity about her fellow players – I wonder if it ever enters her mind that millions of people are watching her act like that; it certainly doesn’t leave me with any kind of good impression about her as a human being, regardless of how much she raises for charity or does for others outside of the show.


This week, the teams were charged with a fund-raising project built around a fitness club: each side had to create and perform three 30-minute workout classes while calling on their contacts to donate money to their cause – whichever side raised the most money would be the winner, plain and simple. As an incentive to creating a usable and productive work-out routine, the fitness chain involved would add $24,000 to the team that they thought did the best job.

Rock Solid came out the gate positive, focused and strong: Sharon, Bret and Maria were having so much fun building their workout brand that it was infectious for the home viewers. Big shock, I know, but they created a “Rockstar Bootcamp Work-Out,” built around stage moves and backstage moves - including air guitaring, “flashing” the rock stars, “Praying To The Porcelain God” and Bret’s “Tour Bus Thrust.” It was an all-around fun brand: Maria led the classes and everyone left with a VIP laminate to commemorate their participation.

Tenacity, on the hand, was all-business, with stiff Holly running the show. Olympian Summer Saunders created the “Guns N’ Buns” work-out along with Stone, and they both led the classes. Lauper returned on day two to work the phones and to physically bring people into the gym – her mom even participated. And a funny thing happened: Peete actually had some kind words about Lauper and her contributions to the task.

In terms of guessing a winner, this was a tough one to call, because Osborne is such a strong personality and player, while Peete is basically a professional fundraiser these days.

In the boardroom, we learned that the fitness chain preferred Rock Solid’s work-out because of the fun factor and are considering adding it to their lineup, with some minor modifications (they were a little uncomfortable with some of the moves); this score added $24,000 to the team’s total donations. While both teams were confident, each PM thought the other was going to be the winner - in the end, Tenacity raised about $207,000, while Rock Solid brought in about $130,000 (incl. the fitness chain’s addition), which meant that all monies collected went to the winning side, giving Peete’s charity almost $350,000. Showing some real humanity for a change, Peete seemed so grateful that she immediately said she’d be making a donation to Osborne’s charity.

With this week bringing in the most money raised on a single task in the show’s history, Trump was so pleased with everyone’s efforts and results that he decided not to fire anyone, so there’ll be a full house again next week.

Poison - Flesh & Blood - Unskinny Bop Poison - Flesh & Blood - Unskinny Bop

Poison – Unskinny Bop (live)
Live, Raw & Uncut (2007)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bret Michaels update

Update to my original breaking news item from Friday…

The following was posted today on Bret’s website:
Everyone at Michaels Entertainment would like to thank all fans and friends for their continued thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.

At this point Bret remains in ICU in critical condition. He is under 24 hour doctor’s care and supervision. We are hopeful that further tests will locate the source of the bleeding, which has still not been located. As we all know Bret is a fighter and we are hopeful that once all is complete the slurred speech, blurred vision and dizziness, etc. will be eliminated and all functions will return to normal.

More information will be posted as it becomes available
The Celebrity Apprentice returns tonight; I woudn’t be surprised if the producers added something at either the start or end of the show to address Michaels’ condition. Donald Trump offered his support on Friday when he released the following statement: “I am deeply saddened to hear about Bret Michaels and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this time. He’s a great competitor and champion and I hope he will be fine.”

Poison - Best of Ballads & Blues - Something to Believe In (Acoustic Version) Poison - Best of Ballads & Blues - Something to Believe In (Acoustic Version)

Poison - Flesh & Blood - Something to Believe In Poison - Flesh & Blood - Something to Believe In

Poison – Something To Believe In (1986)
The Arsenio Hall Show (1990)

Catching Up With Jimmy Kimmel

Some killer live stuff this past week featuring Rob Cummings…er, I mean Rob Zombie….

White Zombie - Astro Creep: 2000 Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head - More Human Than Human White Zombie - Astro Creep: 2000 Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head - More Human Than Human

Rob Zombie – More Human Than Human
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 21, 2010

Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (Special Edition) - Mars Needs Women Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (Special Edition) - Mars Needs Women

Rob Zombie - Mars Needs Women
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 21, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Catching Up With David Letterman

In case ya missed ‘em, here’s a couple of performances from this week’s Letterman show worth checking out….

Jakob Dylan - Women and Country - Nothing But the Whole Wide World Jakob Dylan - Women and Country - Nothing But the Whole Wide World

Jakob Dylan – Nothing But The Whole Wide World (2010)
The Late Show With David Letterman – April 21, 2010

Broken Social Scene - Forced to Love / All to All - Single - Forced to Love Broken Social Scene - Forced to Love / All to All - Single - Forced to Love

Broken Social Scene – Forced To Love (2010)
The Late Show With David Letterman – April 22, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Bret Michaels in critical condition following brain hemorrhage

Breaking news this afternoon that Poison frontman Bret Michaels is in critical condition at an undisclosed Los Angeles-area hospital following a massive brain hemorrhage, just weeks after an emergency appendectomy in San Antonio, Texas.

Michaels had been recovering from the April 12 surgery in a private care facility specializing in rehab for diabetic patients.

Various media reports indicate Michaels had complained of a severe headache yesterday and was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed the hemorrhage; he’ll remain under close observation in ICU for the new few days while doctors try to determine the cause.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding from the base of the brain stem; it’s too early to know if it is related, in any way, to Bret’s surgery or his diabetes.

Michaels had been on a solo tour when he went into surgery, forcing him to postpone several weeks of dates; he is also currently appearing in The Celebrity Apprentice, which I’ve been following here for weeks.

Craig Ferguson gets the Willies

I’ll start off today with a shout-out and a “Welcome to Toronto” to Craig Ferguson, who’s doing a show tonight at Massey Hall. Wish I was gonna be there…

Willie Nelson appeared on Craig’s show recently, and they sure had some fun. Craig got into the spirit of things right off the bat, kicking off last Friday’s (16) show dressed as Willie and setting the tone for things to come…

Craig Ferguson - program intro
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 16, 2010

Willie Nelson interview
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 16, 2010

This week, Craig replaced the "Spanish Word Of The Day" with a few episodes of "Willie Nelson’s Gardening Tips" – there’s been two editions so far, and we’ll see if any more pop up in the days ahead. Of course, Willie is known for his tour bus "atmosphere" and his green thumb; well, ok, his love of green things that grow...

Willie Nelson's Gardening Tips – Composting
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 19, 2010

Willie Nelson's Gardening Tips – Edible Flowers
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 20, 2010

Willie’s new album is “Country Music,” and he played a track during his visit last week…

Willie Nelson - Country Music - Man With The Blues Willie Nelson - Country Music - Man With The Blues

Willie Nelson – Man With The Blues (2010)
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Black Sabbath meets Jethro Tull

In honour of Earth Day, I offer up tales of the rock band once known as Earth...

I recently picked up Ozzy’s autobiography, “I Am Ozzy,” and have been thoroughly enjoying it so far; great tales from one of rock’s greats – it doesn’t get much better than that. (The book could also have been called "No, I Am Ozzy" - inside joke for some pals of mine.)

Ozzy shares a couple of stories from the early days that involve Jethro Tull, and I’ll offer a quick recap of them here – of course, I recommend you pick up the book for yourself.

Inspired by the original Fleetwood Mac, the first version of Sabbath was called the Polka Tulk Blues Band; the original four members were rounded out with a bottleneck guitarist named Jimmy Phillips and Alan Clark, a sax player. It wasn’t long before the two “extra” players were gone, and the group had changed its name to Earth.

One of the craziest plans Earth had to help kick-start their career in 1968 was to show up at big-name band gigs with their van full of equipment, hoping the “name” act didn’t show up; they could then swoop in and save the day for the promoter while playing to a much bigger crowd then they’d get on their own. The concept sounds insane but it worked: one night, the band waited outside a venue where Jethro Tull was booked and, when the group hadn’t gone on stage on schedule, guitarist Tony Iommi put his plan into action. Iommi spoke with the venue manager, played dumb about the whole thing (“oh, we were just driving by with our van full of gear when we noticed…”), and within minutes, Earth were playing to a packed house.

Turns out Tull’s bus had broken down en route, and leader Ian Anderson eventually arrived midway through Earth’s performance; Ozzy got a real rush out of seeing Anderson watching his band from the back of the room. The promoter, Earth, the fans and even Anderson were pleased with the results, and Earth picked up management and a bunch of bookings after the stunt worked.

Fast forward a short time later (timing is not exactly clear, but it appears more likely to be weeks than months): with the band feeling excited about their prospects, Iommi walked into rehearsal one day to break good/bad news to the guys. Ian Anderson’s guitarist, Mick Abrahams, had just quit and Ian offered the gig to Tony, and he took it. Ozzy and the guys were both shocked at the news and thrilled for Iommi, who’s first gig with Tull was playing at the legendary Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus.

As a result of Iommi's departure, it looked like Earth were finished as a band.

According to Ozzy, the BBC was originally set to air the Stones event live, but never did, and that turned out to be a good thing: one of the many, many legends about the show is how long the event was due to technical snafus – it started at 2pm on December 11 and didn’t finish taping until 5am the next morning. Organizer Mick Jagger was reportedly very unhappy with the Stones performance and refused to release it - the video didn't see the light of day until 1996.

At the show, Jethro Tull were the opening act and played two songs: “Fat Man” and “A Song For Jeffrey” – only the latter made the final cut. Now when I say “played,” this is not entirely true: the band mimed the songs, with only Anderson’s voice and flute performed live. I’ve never been a fan of miming, and it’s one of those crappy, lazy TV production things – maybe I’ll get into that another day (I feel a rant coming on...). Anyway…so Iommi was present at one Tull gig, but whether he “played” or not is open to your own interpretation.

Iommi’s time with Jethro Tull lasted four days – he quit and returned to Earth, who then changed their name to Black Sabbath.

Over the years, both Iommi and Anderson have been very respectful of each other when speaking to the press about their week together; the one thing Iommi took away from the experience and put to use with Sabbath was a real work ethic: rehearsals are key, professionally-run and original songs are the only way to make it in the business.

Jethro Tull - The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus - Song for Jeffrey Jethro Tull - The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus - Song for Jeffrey

Jethro Tull – A Song For Jeffrey (with Tony Iommi on guitar)
Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus – December 11, 1968

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oasis – Daniel Sullivan verdict

As a follow-up to my series of posts here, here and here, reports today indicate that the case of Daniel Sullivan, the Pickering contractor who assaulted Oasis leader Noel Gallagher on stage at the 2008 Virgin Music Festival in Toronto, has reached its conclusion.

Sullivan has been sentenced to 12 months house arrest; The Crown was seeking jail time between 6 and 8 months in the case.

In addition to being allowed to go to work, the house arrest gives Sullivan a 4-hour window each week to take care of personal errands like shopping and medical appointments; Sullivan has also been prohibited from possessing alcohol during the house arrest period.

While Sullivan reportedly apologized to the Court and Gallagher today, he wouldn’t comment after the proceedings, largely because of the pending civil suit where Gallagher is suing him and the concert security company for 2.1 million dollars in damages.

I would imagine that most of us have seen alcohol turn people into aggressive idiots at one time or another. Sullivan was so trashed at the show that he claims has no memory of what happened; I have no idea if the excuse is merely convenient or actually true, but this is what too much booze can do to you, kids, so let’s be careful out there.

Gallagher left Oasis last year and is launching a solo career.

Oasis – Toronto attack by Daniel Sullivan
Virgin Music Festival, September 2009

Catching Up With Beck’s Record Club - INXS

As I mentioned last month, the fourth installment in Beck’s unique “Record Club” series features INXS’ 1987 album, “Kick.”

The album is being posted in sequence, and there’s been a few additions since my last note.

Check ‘em out!

Record Club – New Sensation (2010)

Record Club – Devil Inside (2010)

Record Club – Need You Tonight (2010)


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

420 Day is Green Day

I know it’s redundant, but let’s make 420 Day a Green Day.

Caught an episode about Green Day recently on the Biography channel, and found an interesting little item.

Billie Joe Armstrong recorded his first song when he was just five years old. While attending Hillcrest Elementary School in Rodeo, California, Billie Joe’s piano teacher, Marie-Louise Fiatarone, encouraged him to record one of her husband’s songs as a way of paying for his lessons.

“Look For Love” was released on Marie’s Bay Area label, Fiat Records, in 1977. Billie Joe and Marie even recorded a “press” interview for the song…

Billie Joe Armstrong – Look For Love interview (1977)

Armstrong and his dad even took the show on the road, performing broadway show tunes and standards at area hospitals and nursing homes, with Billie Joe as the star attraction.

Billie Joe Armstrong – Look For Love (1977)

Word is that Fiat only pressed 800 copies of the single, so think about the value of that rare vinyl today...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrity Apprentice Week 6

The lesson on this week’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice: timing is everything.

The task at hand was for the teams to ‘make-over’ an up-and-coming Country music artist, including a fashion upgrade, a new press kit, a national print interview and a showcase performance.

Led by Cyndi Lauper as Project Manager (PM), the women worked with Emily West, a likeable enough character on her own. You’d think that Cyndi’s considerable experience in the music industry would have been enough for her teammates to support her unconditionally, but no: as usual, Holly Robinson Peete whined constantly and yearned to have control, while Maria Kanellis was difficult throughout the task, continually wanting to be involved in areas others (mostly Lauper) were responsible for while blathering on about her years of experience in things outside of the wrestling arena.

Timing: If there was ever a task in this series designed for Sharon Osborne, this was it. Sharon missed last week’s project as she was off sick, and arrived this time once things were underway. Osborne’s management style would have shut down both Holly and Maria before they even had a chance to consider whining, and I’m certain the sensors would have bleeped most of the dialogue, which would have been hilarious.

The women gave West a style upgrade, with a look not too far from that of Faith Hill; in fact, when Emily walked in the door for the first time, I noticed her facial features were similar to Hill’s, even with her hair pulled back – my hunch was confirmed later in the show as Emily was the spitting image of Hill when she was sitting in the makeup chair.

The men’s team worked with Luke Bryan, an artist who seemed pretty set in his ways: even getting him to consider wearing a necklace was a challenge, but the team managed to convince him it was the right move.

Timing: Down to only three players, the men went with wrestler Bill Goldberg as their PM, leaving Donald Trump and many others to shake their heads in disbelief: why wasn’t Poison’s Bret Michaels leading the task? Bret and chef Curtis Stone deferred to Goldberg as the PM, because he hadn’t stepped up previously and they wanted to make sure Bill’s charity had a shot at getting some funds. Ironically, it was a smoke and mirrors thing: Michaels really ran the task as Goldberg ‘delegated’ his duties to Bret, which worked for, and against, the team, in the end.

Bryan seemed reluctant to change his look, but Bret managed to extend the boundaries of Luke’s comfort zone by dealing with him artist-to-artist, something Goldberg would never have been able to do. The photo shoot for the press kit looked extremely rushed as Goldberg and Stone were late in returning to the studio with wardrobe options thanks to some typical NYC traffic. Regardless, Bret pulled off some magic getting the shoot done in record time and delivering some strong results, yet again, for the team.

And I have to say something here about the team concept: throughout the series, Bret Michaels has really stood out by always placing himself in the context of the team, filling whatever role is needed to get the job done. On the women’s side, Holly and Maria are virtually always putting themselves ahead of the team with a “me first” and “I’ve done this (insert every part of every task here) before in my career” philosophy, which is really exhausting to viewers and the team – but hey, if everyone played nice, I guess there would be no real dynamic to the show. The ego is a strange and powerful thing.

Of the two teams, here’s how it looked to me: it appeared the women’s fashion upgrade was more significant, so give them a point for that; the men’s press kit was better, so give the men a point for that; Emily’s press interview was much stronger than Luke’s, so give the women a point for that…putting the women ahead by a point. I’m not sure where the showcase gig fit in with the judges approach to voting but, while both artists put on a strong performance, I have to say it’s pretty hard to beat the reaction Emily received – many in the audience were brought to tears with her song "Blue Sky," including Lauper and guest participant (and former Celebrity Apprentice contestant himself) Trace Adkins.

So, the women’s side won, leaving the men to duke it out in the boardroom. Always the team player, Michaels was hinting that he should be the one to go, while Goldberg was left to try to explain what he brought to the table as a PM once virtually everything was ‘delegated’ to Bret based on his career experience.

In the end, Goldberg was fired, leaving the men’s side with two players to the women’s five – I expect Trump will move one of the women over to the men’s side next week to try and help even things out…and IF he does, it’ll be fascinating to see if the women are given the choice to jump ship or if someone is simply assigned the role: if it’s the former, who steps up and why? Consider: Lauper might do it, just to get a fresh start without the Holly/Maria baggage; Holly or Maria might, just to get away from Cyndi; Summer hasn’t been much of a factor so wouldn’t shake things up enough for the producers, leaving Sharon Osborne as the real wild card in this deck. Hmmm…..

Both artists involved in this week’s show are donating monies earned from the sale of their singles over the course of the next month to Lauper’s charity – The True Colors Fund; both songs are posted below, so feel free to support new talent while helping a good cause.

Emily West - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) Emily West - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice)

Emily West – Blue Sky (with Keith Urban) (2010)

Luke Bryan - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) Luke Bryan - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice)

Luke Bryan – Rain Is A Good Thing (2009)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jimmy Fallon's Battle Of The Instant Bands 2

Jimmy Fallon recently had another edition of Battle Of The Instant Bands, which is such a cool concept. I covered last month’s version here.

Basically, audience members who claim to be musicians are pulled out of the audience before the show, form two groups and are then sent backstage to write and rehearse an original song before performing it on national tv 20 minutes later. Crazy!

Let’s see how BOTIB 2 went…

Battle Of The Instant Bands 2 (Part 1)
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – April 8, 2010

Battle Of The Instant Bands 2 (Part 2)
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – April 8, 2010

I don't think these two are as strong as last month's, but ya gotta give 'em all credit for getting up there and doing it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kaki King on Fallon

Stumbled across a cool performance this week on Jimmy Fallon by guitarist Kaki King - she was on the show plugging her new album, “Junior,” which hit stores this past Tuesday.

Pretty interesting stuff! Not sure what that crazy instrument the player on the right is using, but it looks and sounds pretty wild. Fan postings on King’s website are debating what the instrument is, and someone has suggested it’s a MIDI wind controller – possibly a Steiner MIDI EVI. In this case, the instrument is connected to a synthesizer and run through an amp, and the player’s breathing helps control the sound it makes.

Kaki King - Junior - Falling Day Kaki King - Junior - Falling Day

Kaki King – Falling Day
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – April 14, 2010

“Junior” is King’s latest album in a direction (and career) influenced by players like Stanley Jordan and the late, great Michael Hedges: the style features elements like tapping, slap-bass techniques and using the guitar as a percussive instrument.

Her playing is no secret: King played on “Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners” from the Foo Fighters’ “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” record, and toured with the band down under in 2008. Along with Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook, Kaki was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score on Sean Penn’s 2007 film, “Into The Wild.”

Here’s a look at something from 2004’s “Legs To Make Us Longer” album…

Playing With Pink NoiseKaki King - Playing With Pink Noise

Kaki King – Playing With Pink Noise (2004)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Craig Ferguson Rocks 4

Further to last month’s item, Craig Ferguson’s show recently added a new Twitter jingle into rotation.

Robot Eurotrash Twitter Jingle (April 2010)
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Geoff Peterson update: Sad to report that Craig’s team seems to have given up on trying to make the robot skeleton sidekick work for the show…and, unfortunately, I’d say without much of an effort.

Geoff’s debut last Monday (5) was a little rough, but interesting; it appeared that Craig immediately realized the limitations of giving Geoff only 7 catch phrases, which were burnt out by the end of the show. I thought night 2 was much better, as Geoff had new stuff to say and Craig was still interested in making it work, but things took a bad turn by night 3 (last Wednesday), when Geoff was given the role of second banana/doofus, judging by the dumb expressions they gave him, and Craig started making negative remarks about the project.

While he’s still far brighter and more entertaining than Leno’s bandleader Kevin Eubanks, it looks like Geoff’s days are numbered. It’s a drag that Craig and crew have given up so early in the process, which, in itself, is a bad thing: I still think there are ways to make Geoff fit in to the show and night 2 had some promising moments.

I’m guessing the biggest challenge is the limited number of expressions Geoff can be programmed with at any one time; if that’s the case, it would be worth going back to the drawing board and expanding the system so that Craig’s team had more options at their disposal. Beyond that, I have no idea how simple/easy/fast it is to swap out the prerecorded mp3 expressions (ie. could it be done during a commercial break, for example?), but I would imagine anything technical could be addressed – like I say, the bigger challenge is getting Craig and crew back on board in general, and it’s not looking good these days for one Geoff Peterson: Robot Skeleton Sidekick.

“Look Out, There’s A Monster Coming”
Dancing With The Robot Skeleton Sidekick (Geoff Peterson)
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – April 5, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bret Michaels update

Since I’ve been following Poison’s Bret Michaels on The Celebrity Apprentice this season, I thought I’d pass this along…

According to various media reports, Bret was released from a San Antonio, Texas hospital yesterday following an emergency appendectomy Sunday night.

Reports say Michaels was complaining of stomach pains all day and was sent to hospital just before he was due on stage for one of his solo shows. Initial tests revealed Michaels’ appendix was close to bursting, and he was rushed into emergency surgery. Having an appendix burst can be fatal; I had the same surgery in high school when mine was close to bursting, so know exactly what’s involved in the whole process.

Michaels has reportedly cancelled tour dates for the next month while he recovers.

Poison - Poison'd! - What I Like About You Poison - Poison'd! - What I Like About You

Poison – What I Like About You
The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson – June 7, 2007

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

new Ozzy premieres on CSI: NY tonight

Ozzy returns with a new song and we get the sneek peak tonight on CSI: New York.

“Let Me Hear You Scream” is the lead track from Ozzy’s new disc, “Scream,” due out June 15.

“Scream” was selected as the title for the record following Ozzy’s announcement of the original title, “Soul Sucka” – fan backlash online was so strong that Ozzy immediately knew he had to make a change.

It’s Ozzy’s first record since 2007’s “Black Rain,” and introduces new guitarist Gus G. (formerly of Firewind), replacing long time axeman Zakk Wylde, who’s been with Ozzy since 1988.

This isn’t the first time the CSI franchise has gone into hard rock/metal territory: Rob Zombie recently directed an episode of CSI: Miami.

CSI: NY – Ozzy song premiere promo (2010)

Ozzy is currently featured on the new Slash album….have a listen:

Slash - Slash - Crucify the Dead (feat. Ozzy Osbourne) Slash - Slash - Crucify the Dead (feat. Ozzy Osbourne)

Slash (featuring Ozzy) – Crucify The Dead (2010)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Whigs on Letterman

I was flipping through some things on my PVR over the weekend and revisited a performance by The Whigs.

The Athens, Georgia trio appeared on Letterman recently with a kick-ass, high-energy reading of “Kill Me Carolyne,” from their third and latest disc, “In The Dark.”

The Whigs are signed to Dave Matthews' label, ATO Records; the band is currently on the road playing shows across North America.

The Whigs - In the Dark - Kill Me Carolyne The Whigs - In the Dark - Kill Me Carolyne

The Whigs – Kill Me Carolyne
The Late Show With David Letterman – March 31, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Roger Waters announces The Wall Live tour

Roger Waters announced his fall 2010 tour today.

“The Wall Live” will kick off in Toronto on September 15 at the Air Canada Centre, before hitting three dozen cities across North America.

The tour celebrates the 30th Anniversary of one of rock’s biggest concept albums. Due to the size of the original production, Pink Floyd played the album in a 1980-81 special series of dates in Los Angeles, Uniondale New York, London and Dortmund, West Germany.

The last time Waters performed the album in its entirety was as a solo artist in Germany in 1990, to mark the recent fall of the Berlin Wall.

Roger has posted the following comment on his website:

I recently came across this quote of mine from 22 years ago:

” What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?"

I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas.

30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and ‘isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.

This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.

In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

I disagree.

In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species.

I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other.

I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, ” You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

- Roger Waters, 2010

Roger Waters – The Wall Live 2010

Sept. 15 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
Sept. 20 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
Sept. 21 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
Sept. 26 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Consol Energy Center
Sept. 28 – Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
Sept. 30 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
Oct. 5 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
Oct. 8 – Buffalo, NY @ HSBC Arena
Oct. 10 – Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
Oct. 12 – Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
Oct. 15 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center
Oct. 17 – Ottawa, ON @ ScotiaBank Place
Oct. 19 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
Oct. 22 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
Oct. 24 – Detroit, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
Oct. 26 – Omaha, NE @ Qwest Center
Oct. 27 – St Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
Oct. 29 – St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
Oct. 30 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Nov. 3 – New York, NY @ Izod Center
Nov. 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Center
Nov. 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Center
Nov. 13 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Bank Atlantic Center
Nov. 16 – Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum
Nov. 18 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
Nov. 20 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
Nov. 21 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
Nov. 23 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
Nov. 26 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
Nov. 27 – Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center
Nov. 29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
Dec. 6 – San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion
Dec. 10 – Vancouver, BC @ General Motors Place
Dec. 11 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome
Dec. 13 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center

Pink Floyd - The Wall - Comfortably NumbPink Floyd - The Wall - Comfortably Numb

Roger Waters and guests – Comfortably Numb
The Wall Live in Berlin – July 21, 1990

Celebrity Apprentice Week 5

It was a strange week 5 on The Celebrity Apprentice

The women’s team was short two players, as Sharon Osborne, who’s been fighting some kind of bug for a few tasks now, was out sick, while Cyndi Lauper was off to The White House as President Obama announced some new legislation regarding hate crimes – a campaign she has been working on for years with her True Colors Fund.

As a result of the no-shows, the men’s team finally had an opportunity to be on equal footing with the women, with each side working with four apiece.

This week’s task involved creating two commercial videos for a deodorant company: one was a traditional thirty-second tv commercial, and the other was a ten-second video aimed at the internet audience – with the goal of the video going viral and being spread everywhere.

The deodorant company is tied in with the NBA, so each time had a former NBA pro to participate in the campaign: the men had Portland Trail Blazer and Houston Rockets great Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and the women’s team worked with former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen.

Led by chef Curtis Stone, the men’s side appeared to have everything in place, with much of the creative concept for the videos (once again) handled by Bret Michaels. Things got sidetracked a bit after Bret received word from home that his daughter, Raine, was showing signs of diabetes and was going to the doctor’s for some testing. A lifelong diabetic himself (diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 6), Michaels is on the show to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association, and the news that his young daughter may have to endure daily insulin shots, like he does, really shook Bret up, as it would any parent. To his credit, Bret dealt with his family issues while maintaining focus and bringing positive energy to the team and the task – something he admitted was a healthy distraction while his family awaited news of his daughter’s test results.

With former tv actress Holly Robinson Peete as Project Manager, the women’s side looked like they’d be highly productive out of the gate, as Peete took control from the start. In general, the team seemed relieved that they didn’t have to “manage” Lauper and set out to get the job done. While in Washington, Lauper phoned the team to offer some creative input, but was basically ignored, as the project was well underway at that point; the women (specifically Peete) simply didn’t have the courage or courtesy to tell Cyndi where things stood. Cyndi did return for day two of the task, and offered to help with the jingle Peete had created for the ads, but even that didn’t go smoothly as Peete really seemed uninterested in any of Lauper’s help.

When the task was completed, but before the teams went to the boardroom, runner Michael Johnson pulled a shocker and met with Donald Trump to advise him that he had to head home to San Francisco immediately to deal with a personal family issue himself. The way the show was edited, it was easy to think that Bret was leaving because of his situation, but it turned out to be something too private for Johnson to reveal and he left on his own.

In the boardroom, it was the men who prevailed, winning $20,000 for Curtis’ charity of choice, Feeding America; the women were left to sort out which players were the strongest, who did what, and who didn’t do what, as usual. There was a really interesting moment when Lauper challenged Peete’s management style, but she cut herself off before saying anything that could be used against her in future boardroom sessions; it’s a shame Lauper didn’t just let her true colors fly, cause she sure looked like she wanted to get something off her chest. In the end, model Selita Ebanks was sent packing….no big loss to the team or the show.

Bret Michaels - Rock My World - Raine Bret Michaels - Rock My World - Raine

Bret Michaels – Raine (2008)

Cyndi Lauper - True Colors - True Colors Cyndi Lauper - True Colors - True Colors

Cyndi Lauper – True Colors (1986)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Catching Up with Jimmy Kimmel

A couple of cool, live things from Jimmy Kimmel's show this week:

Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - Pardon Me - Single - Pardon Me Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - Pardon Me - Single - Pardon Me

Jonathan Tyler And The Northern Lights – Pardon Me
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 8, 2010

Public Image Ltd. - Public Image Ltd. - Rise Public Image Ltd. - Public Image Ltd. - Rise

P.i.L. (Public Image Limited) – Rise
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 7, 2010