Friday, November 29, 2013

Have a Very Guess Who Post-Thanksgiving Weekend!

And in tribute to the original inhabitants of our noble republic, i.e., the people the Pilgrims stole it from, please enjoy Burton Cummings and the rest of those loveable canuckleheads with their stirring renditions of both the venerable oldie "Running Bear"...

...and their own perhaps less politically troublesome hit "Rain Dance."

You know, some days I find myself thinking that those guys were like the greatest band ever.

Then I usually get over it.

In any case, see you all on Monday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Walking in Memphis

Because nothing says Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody! like a deeply embarrassing Elvis Presley song... by Ed Wood's girlfriend Delores Fuller.

True story: The 45 of this...

...was actually on the jukebox at my college snack bar, and one night I loaded it up with two dollars worth of dimes and played the song 20 times in a row. As an experiment to see how fast I could clear the place. Pretty damn fast, if memory serves, BTW.

In any case -- Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Could Be Wrong, But These Clips May Be the Greatest Things in the History of Television

From 1977 and his ill-fated variety show (it lasted exactly four episodes)...

...please enjoy comic genius Richard Pryor as he invents death metal. (Don't blink or you'll miss a shot of Sandra Bernhard in the audience.)

I should add two things.

1) This predates Spinal Tap by seven -- count 'em, seven -- years.


2) That isn't actually the funniest bit from the Pryor show.

THIS is.

Words fail me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Nothing New Under the Lucky Old Sun Edition

Purportedly from 1962 -- although experts tell me it's actually from somewhat later, circa 1964 -- please enjoy ultra rare footage of Brit rock pioneer/legend Screaming Lord Sutch (doing business with The Savages) at Liverpool's fabled Cavern Club.

Say what you will about Sutch...

but I think it's pretty obvious that the guys from GWAR...

...ripped him off for pretty much their entire act.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Master Thespians Edition

A blog friend writes:

The below video, produced by Adrian Bliss for the comedy network Dead Parrot, provides a dramatic reenactment of an actual (and perfectly typical)
YouTube comment war: an empty and vile back-and-forth that originated beneath a popular One Direction video. The simplicity of the concept is
brilliant and its execution is flawless.

To which I can only reply -- ditto!

Seriously, I could give two shits about One Direction or any current boy band, but this is out of control hilarious -- it's like watching two immature teenage girls portrayed by Sirs Alec Guinness and Ralph Richardson.

[h/t Richard_thunderbay]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Kennedy Assassination Day

I don't know if I've told this story before, but on this day 50 years ago, at Teaneck High School, I heard the news over the PA during a next to last period study hall.

"The president has been shot."

And my first thought was -- who the hell would shoot Timmy McBride?

Who was the student council president.

That's how unthinkable the idea of JFK having been murdered was, kids.

Music posting resumes on Monday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Ghosts of Versailles

Not sure how I think about this purely as a conceptual art project, but somebody has commissioned portraits of how our dead rock heroes might look today, i.e. if they hadn't died tragically young.

For example -- Kurt Cobain.

Bob Marley.

Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys.

The Lizard King.

Janis Joplin.

Keith Moon.

John Lennon.

And some guy from Tupelo, Mississipi.

The ghoulishness aside, I think the Marley is right on the money, i.e., he looks like George Clinton. And the Joplin works for me too; she would have been a very cool old broad.

The Dennis Wilson and the Morrison are barely recognizable, on the other hand, but that may be the point.

And I like the fact that the elderly Keith Moon is definitely wearing a hairpiece.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Your Tuesday Moment of "Le Heh"

A friend finds this cartoon somehow reminiscent of moi.

Something about the hat, I imagine.

[h/t Marcellina]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Annals of the Music Biz: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Attentive readers and long-time friends are perhaps aware that a small indie label in Australia has, unaccountably, decided it would be a good idea to release a compilation of demos and live tracks I recorded in a band some thirty years ago.

And by "a small indie label" I more accurately mean a philanthropic organization. Seriously, the fact that somebody was willing to release Floor Your Love is perhaps the greatest act of compassion and charity a sentient mammal has exhibited toward his fellow beings since the death of Albert Schweitzer.

In any case, said record was released a week or two ago. So, naturally, lawyers are getting involved. Or something.

Apparently, a musician who helped us with said demos back in the day thinks the album is going to sell in Justin Bieber numbers and wants a piece of the action.

Here is an e-mail exchange forwarded to me on Friday by my mogul Down Under. The participants' real names and e-mail addresses have been omitted to protect whoever, but I recreate the messages verbatim.

FROM: Say My Name...Heisenberg (a/k/a The Guy Simels Used to Work With 30 Years Ago)
TO: The Record Company Guy in Australia

Stated on the back of The Floor Models CD is the following:
'Unauthorised duplication and reproduction is a criminal offense'. I've heard the material, and I couldn't agree more.

But that is not why I write: Here's a little tidbit I'm certain no one from the band has mentioned: I am the (uncompensated) legal owner of several of the master recordings on this album as well the producer.

Any last words before I send the police to your door??

FROM: The Record Company Guy in Australia
TO: Say My Name...Heisenberg

Good luck dickhead.

FROM: Say My Name...Heisenberg
TO: The Record Company Guy in Australia


I really didn't expect such a horribly stupid response. Congrats.

With regard to my connection to this album, everything I stated is true.

And now you are free to go back... back!!... into the shadows of the internet from whence you came,
along with the rest of the delusional vermin who puke up pretend, self-propelled fame and fortune.

Words, as they say, fail me. I also don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

I should add that if you know the guy in question, the fact he's using that quote from Breaking Bad as his nym is a really wonderfully psychotic touch.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Planet Where Dogs Evolved From Men?

Taking another couple of days off for mental health reasons, obviously.

Serious posting resumes on Monday, if for no other reason than Calvinist guilt. And I should add, it's gonna be a doozy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bullshit or Not?

Taking a mental health day.

You know -- because of all the bullshit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the Immortal Words of Edith Prickley...

...could be a hot one!!!

More specifically, I'm seeing John Fogerty tonight at the Beacon.

Amazingly enough, never seen him in concert. Or Creedence neither.

Oh well, better late etc. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Spirito Nella Notte Edition

Bruce and the E-Street Band doing "New York City Serenade" live in Rome Italy, earlier this year.

As you'll see...

...a crazy Italian fan had been following the band around from show to show with a huge banner asking for a performance of said "Serenade," and for this occasion, Bruce surprised the guy by hiring a string section and dedicating the song to him.

Like I said, words fail me.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Baby Let Me Bang Your Box! Edition

So the other day, somebody who I won't mention -- but whose initials are Shady Dame -- wondered if I was going to put up a new Weekend Listomania ever again.

I had no cogent answer for her, but I thought it might be fun to post this one -- from April of 2008 -- and see what the responses would be. I've personally changed my mind on one or two of the entries, so we'll see what you guys think after all this time.

In any case...go to it, if you don't mind going to it. -- S.S.


By which we mean the most melodic, the most effective, or the most inventive. It can be a solo, an entire part as played through the length of a song, or simply a riff -- whatever gets you off.

But, and at the risk of belaboring the obvious, it has to be played on a piano. No synths, organs, or even clavinets need apply, although by piano we do mean of both the acoustic and electric varieties. On the other hand, if somebody nominates anything played on the shimmering Fender Rhodes (as we used to say in the '70s) I'm gonna take a hostage blah blah blah.

Oh, and one other totally arbitrary rule: The record said piano part adorns has to come in at under four minutes in length, which is pretty much the limit of my attention span where these things are concerned. This, of course, has the virtue of eliminating almost any dreaded prog rock I can think of, although it also means I can't include two of my personal faves, Bruce Springsteen's gorgeous piano-driven "Incident on 57th Street" (sorry, David Sancious) and Traffic's ridiculously infectious "Glad" (forgive me, Stevie Winwood).

Hey, life's a trade-off.

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Ten:

10. Bruce Hornsby and the Range -- The Way It Is

From the YouTube comments: "Does anyone know if he was famous before 2pac used the tune?"

Sigh. Incidentally, there are many reasons that Sean Hannity will someday burn in hell, but high among them is the fact that the odious racist fuckwit has the gall to use this passionately anti-racist song as a lead-in on his radio show.

9. The Chiffons -- One Fine Day

One of the greatest opening riffs in rock history, played here by its auteur, Carole King. It's so good, as a matter of fact, that a decade later the Raspberries were moved to recycle it on twelve-string guitar for the intro of their equally epochal "I Wanna Be With You."

8. A three way tie --

The Beatles -- Tell Me What You See


The Beatles -- You Like Me Too Much


The Beatles
-- In My Life

Don't know which Beatle is playing the brilliantly simple mini-solos on the first tune but it's a perfect part, and heard in tandem with Ringo's quasi-Phil Spector drum fill, it's pretty breathtaking. Apparently that's Paul and George Martin on "You Like Me" (one of George Harrison's best early songs), and then it's all Martin on the "In My Life" solo, which (note to aspiring pianists) is actually in the key of C although the track itself is speeded up so that it plays in B flat.

7. Ben Folds Five -- Philosophy

Punk rock for sissies. I like the sound of that. Odd to think, though, that Folds may well turn out to have been the last great piano man in rock history.

6. The Moody Blues -- Go Now

This is, of course, the kickass r&b-inspired early Moodies featuring the great Denny Laine, not the Justin Hayward-led ensemble responsible for such over-ambitious albums as The Moody Blues Cure Cancer. Incidentally, the arrangement here is lifted pretty much note for note from the original version by Bessie Banks; Mike Pinder's trenchant piano solo, however, is totally his own invention.

5. Johnny Cash -- Hurt

I'm not sure who's actually playing the piano here -- the video suggests it's the Man in Black himself, although from what I can tell from the album credits it could be Benmont Tench, Roger Manning or even(!) Billy Preston -- but whoever it is, it's brilliant. In fact, that droney thing may be even cooler than John Cale's similar octaves on the Velvet's "All Tomorrow's Parties."

4. Nina Simone -- My Baby Just Cares For Me

This after-the-fact video is so hilariously apt that you can almost miss the fact that Nina's solo is as perfectly constructed as any in the entire history of jazz OR pop/rock.

3. The Rolling Stones -- Street Fighting Man

The late great Nicky Hopkins, of course. He played on just about everything good out of England or San Francisco in the mid-to-late Sixties, including the Beatles' "Revolution," the sort of spiritual flip side of this one. Which is, you'll have to admit, one hell of a hat trick.

2. Ray Charles -- What'd I Say

IIRC, this was the first time a Wurlitzer electric piano had been heard on a pop single. In any case, the sound of the thing sold this record almost as much as Ray's brilliant (and subsequently endlessly imitated) minimalist funk phrasing.

1. The Zombies -- She's Not There

There's more sheer drama and atmosphere in the ten or twenty odd seconds of Rod Argent's solo here than can be found in the entire ouevre of countless keyboard-dominated prog bands I could mention. Simply brilliant, and for this, if for no other reason, I can forgive him for "God Gave Rock and Roll To You."

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Radio Radio!!!

The fabulous Floor Models on the radio in Sweden!

I should add that I'm absolutely nuts about The Leftovers' "Dance With Me," which precedes us.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Kids Are Alright. Heh.

So a few days ago, reader J. Lag posed the following question in comments:

I may be poking the bear here (and how I wish I could translate that phrase into French) but, Mr. Simels, is there a major rock act that's come onto the scene in the last six or seven years that you (or any of the contributors to this blog) actually LIKE, that might have a shot at having an estimable, influential career output?? Not trying to be a smart-ass here, I'm genuinely curious about people's opinions, opinions I may be able to learn (something) from.

To which my -- not snarky, trust me -- response is: At my age, I'm not really sure I'm the right person to ask about that sort of thing. I mean, for the last couple of years, every time I've seen some new band I'm unfamiliar with as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, my reaction tends to be, "what, is it open mic night at Folk City?"

That said, however, there is at least one new band, and a local one here in NYC at that, that I'm really nuts about.

Ladies and gentlement, please enjoy the incomparable Driven Mad.

These guys used to do business as King Hell, during which time they did to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what always deserved to be done to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"...

...but in this new incarnation they are louder, faster and if possible even funnier.

To paraphrase, as I'm fond of doing, Jack Nicholson on the subject of Bob Dylan -- these guys are a riot. Seriously. And if they're ever appearing at a venue near you, run do not walk.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Greatest Thing From Sweden Since Blondes!

Unbelievable as it may be, and thanks to my new Facebook buddy, DJ Wayne Lundqvist Ford, a certain band (featuring a certain bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels) will be played on an indie radio station from the land of Ingmar Bergman and ABBA later today.

The show is called Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More...

...and you can check it out on the web at RADIO ANDRA at 7pm CET.

I believe that's 2 PM East Coast time in the States, but you might want to Google that to be sure.

In any case, here's the playlist, by artist, in the order the songs will be played.

Harry J Allstars - Liquidator
The Madd - I'm Gone
Love Zombies - Smile
Ballard - Monkey
The Skywalkers - Mrs Fords Dream Collection
The Prisoners - Hurricane
Pernice Brothers - Saddest Quo
The Leftovers - Dance With Me
Bryan Howell - Why Oh Why
Wiretree - Across My Mind
Eddie and the Hotrods - The Kids Are Alright
The Floor Models - Spin Cycle
Strangely Alright - Let's take the train to nowhere
The Cry - Shaken
The Posies - I may hate you sometimes
Squire - It's Too Bad
French Church - Without Crying
The Ace - One More Chance
The Buttshakers - Mans World
Kurt Baker - Don't Steal My Heart Away

You'll note that The Floor Models are represented about half way through the set. This is as God intended, I think, and Wayne informs me he will be saying nice things about us as well as mentioning the release of our album on World's Coolest Label ZERO HOUR RECORDS.

Please -- feel free to order a copy. Ten bucks: Cheap!

Meanwhile, here's last week's show, with power pop gems by The Singles. The Stairs, The Movements, RAF, Robby Allen and The Kite Collectors, Glenn Robinson, The Zags, Phenomenal Cat, The Early Hours, The Sadies, The Barry Holdship Four, The Chords, The Brigadier, Exploding Hearts, The Frowning Clouds and... guessed it...

The Floor Models!!!

If truth be told, the only band on that list (besides us) I was familiar with is The Sadies, but I gotta say I dug just about everything Wayne played, and that the hour absolutely flew by. Great stuff, in other words.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Your Monday Moment of WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I GET THE MEMO ON THIS????!!!!!????

There is no God.

I bring this up because I just learned that earlier this year -- over at something called the Nate Sanders auction website -- that somebody (and whoever they may be, they are a person I deeply loathe and detest because they aren't me) purchased David Crosby's iconic leather cape from his days in The Byrds.

Let me be especially clear about this. David Crosby's signature leather cape from The Byrds.

You know, the one seen on THIS album cover? Which may be the coolest group shot in the history of either rock or roll?

As I said, there is no God.

To which I can only add that if I ever hear somebody's auctioned off Mike Clarke's suede jean jacket from the same cover without having informed me in advance, I swear to the God who does not exist that I'm gonna take a hostage.